‘I’ve never left’: 30 years in roles recognised

Long service. . . West Gore School librarian teacher aide Jenny Wallis holds the flowers she was given by colleagues last week to recognize the 30 years she has been working at the school. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

For more than 35 years, Jenny Wallis has been walking through the West Gore School gate to class.
Last week on Support Staff Day Mrs Wallis was recognised for the 30 years she has worked at the school as a librarian and teacher aide.
Not only did she attend the school but her children did too, Mrs Wallis said.
‘‘I’ve never left the place.
‘‘I must be a slow learner if I’ve been here since I was 5.’’
Working with children was the most enjoyable part of her roles.
‘‘I love the children.
‘‘I love the job.
‘‘It gets you.
‘‘You start doing a few hours and then you get hooked into it.’’

At present she worked about 18 hours a week.
‘‘You’ve got the energy if you’re only there part-time to give [the pupils] everything you need to.’’
She was now working with children whose parents had also attended the school.
‘‘That’s the thing with a small town.’’
While teachers usually had the same group of children for a year, the teacher aides sometimes moved with the pupil as they progressed through the school, she said.
The aides also tended to work one-on-one with the children.
They were able to form a special bond with the pupils and sometimes their families.
‘‘It’s a privilege.’’

She also enjoyed seeing the pupils once they had left school.
‘‘Seeing them when they’ve left and gone on and done things is really special.
‘‘The fact they recognise you is really nice.’’
They always asked her if she was still at West Gore, she said.